Launching the Forced Evictions Campaign

January 2011| Every year, an estimated 15 million people across the globe are forced to leave their homes, livelihoods and communities with little or no consultation or compensation for projects declared as development. The populations affected are among the most marginalized and under-represented and include communities living in poverty, ethnic minorities and indigenous peoples. UN Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing, Raquel Rolnik, says,

Forced evictions are happening all over the world. Therefore, it is very important for local communities who are fighting forced evictions, to take their resistance globally as well. Video is a critical tool show from one community to the other that all of them are living in the same global phenomenon.

For over ten years, WITNESS has highlighted communities struggling against forced evictions. For example, our collaboration with the Center for Minority Rights Development, led to the production of an advocacy video called Rightful Place that documented the struggle of the indigenous Endorois people who were being evicted from their land. The video was admitted as evidence before the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, resulting in a landmark decision finding the Kenyan government guilty of human rights violations.

Now, WITNESS is broadening its existing work on forced evictions through a new networked-campaign model that aims to amplify local struggles into a global network tackling forced evictions. Working in partnership with the Habitat International Coalition, WITNESS is collaborating with communities in Brazil, Cambodia, Egypt, India and Mexico to document the human rights abuses that take before, during and after forced evictions.